The honest truth is, in today’s world, with the ease of connection and technology, it is so easy to have an emotional affair without even knowing it. Sharon, whose story I’m about to share, did that only too well.
Before she realised she was having an emotional affair, she had gone in deep, her marriage was suffering, her man was complaining of lack of intimacy, but she kept convincing herself that since she wasn’t having sex outside of her marriage, then it couldn’t have been because of her colleague in the office, who had now turned her ‘friend’.
Before she had her emotional affair, Sharon had been married for seven years with two children, and her life could be said to be on an even keel. Drab and bland were the words that she would use to describe it. There was nothing exciting about her life, her husband was the “old trustie” but he had ceased to pay her compliments, to ask after her day, and do all the exciting things he had used to do when they were dating and in the early days of their marriage.
Perhaps it was the excitement she was looking for, as an older colleague in the office suddenly started to look and sound exciting to her. He had the right words to say every time, he had the perfect solution to work issues, and then, they started spending lunch time together to talk over work issues. This graduated to having proper lunch together outside of the office, and then they were sending after-work text messages and emails, completely unrelated to work.
Work became so much important to Sharon, she sought every opportunity to go in to work. At weekends, her phones were glued to her ears, under the pretext that she was resolving work-related issues. Her husband started complaining about her new obsession with work, a job she’d had for years.
When it came out that she was actually doing something that wasn’t exactly right, Sharon found it hard to accept that what she was doing was emotional infidelity and she shouldn’t have crossed the boundary.
Sharon and her husband are still on the matter, and trying to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
With emotional affairs, it would seem innocent without thought, but what happens is that partners begin to derive succour and emotional support from someone else other than their spouse…and that is a dangerous terrain. If someone can get into your emotions, then the probability of such feelings turning physical is quite high.
It is also a lot harder to let go of emotional affairs than physical ones, as emotional affairs are not called affairs of the heart for nothing. Unlike a platonic friendship, there’s sexual chemistry between the two persons, and there are definitely some fantasies playing out in their heads.
If you have developed a close relationship with someone other than your partner and you’re worried it might negatively impact your existing relationship, take an honest look at your feelings, intentions, and actions. Are you having an affair? Ask yourself how you would feel if the situation were reversed.
Thank God, there are signs that one is slipping into an emotional affair and here they are:
- You can’t stop thinking about the person
If you can’t get somebody off your mind, it’s likely the relationship is starting to drift outside the scope of friendship.
If he or she is the first person you think about when you wake up, or the last person you think about at night, it looks like a romance is brewing there.
- You’re comparing and contrasting your partner and the person
When you find yourself comparing someone to your partner, it simply means you are measuring them and sizing him or her up as a potential mate. You may deny this now, but get more in tune with your feelings and you will realise it’s true.
Comparing your partner to someone else may create conflict in your relationship, particularly if you are developing a close relationship with that person.
- You want to see the person NOW!
This sign is a dead giveaway. We all know when you can’t wait to see a loved one. We are bursting with excitement and so eager for the next opportunity to feast our eyes on this person. If you feel like that about someone other than your partner, you are having an emotional affair.
You literally count down the hours or days. When you text or Facebook [message] that person, you check a million times to see if they replied. You don’t need a sooth-sayer, you are neck deep in this business of an emotional affair.
- You want to share your good news and frustrations with them before your partner
We all have that one person we want to gist with, when something good happens, and when something not so nice happens. When that person is not your partner but some random guy/girl, co-worker, friend, who might be of romantic interest, then there is fire on the mountain, and it needs to be quenched quickly.
Telling someone other than your partner, the good and the bad news first is an indication of closeness and that you’re both very important people to each other. Who should be more important than your partner?
- Your partner doesn’t know about this person
Even if you feel like you are not doing anything bad, but you can’t speak freely about this person, you need to watch it. If you are afraid your partner won’t understand the relationship or will feel jealous, then he or she might actually have a reason to feel that way.
A very basic litmus test for determining whether you’ve crossed the line is asking yourself if you would tell your partner about your interactions with that friend.
Ask yourself, would you share texts messages, calls, meetings, conversations, online activity, even your browsing history with your partner, without feeling like they would ask some uncomfortable questions,that perhaps, you would not want to answer? Then there’s something more about your relationship with that other person.
However, it should be pointed out that having any sort of affair is usually a symptom of an underlying problem in life and relationship. Vulnerability to emotional affairs grows when something is missing.
All hope is not lost though, as these weaknesses can be addressed with the infusing of love, attention, appreciation, and affection you and your partner both deserve.
And if you’re not willing to fix what’s wrong in your existing problems, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship status.
At this stage, it is quite important that you’re honest with yourself and your true feelings about your relationship. “Are you satisfied in the relationship? And if not, are you able to communicate with your partner about why you aren’t? Ask yourself: Am I willing to work on the relationship — or am I just going to have a series of emotional affairs until I finally end the relationship?”
Your answers to these questions should help you sort through your feelings and come to a conclusion.
Stay in love!
Kristine is a member of The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.